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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Coffret OSS 117- Le Caire, nid d'espions + OSS 117- Rio ne répond plus [Blu-ray], 21 novembre 2013
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Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Coffret OSS 117- Le Caire, nid d'espions + OSS 117- Rio ne répond plus [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
GAUMONT OSS 117: Le Caire, nid D'Espions [2006] + OSS 117: Rio ne Répond plus . . . [2009] [Special Double Edition] [Blu-Ray] [French Import]

‘OSS 117: Cairo: Nest of Spies’ – It is 1955 and OSS 117 is sent to the Egyptian capital to execute a whole shopping list of items for the French Secret Service, including investigating the death of his friend and erstwhile Cairo-based spy, controlling the Suez Canal and establishing peace in the Middle East. OSS 177 is just the man for these missions: he does not have a clue but is very lucky in getting what he wants.

‘OSS 117: Lost in Rio’ – Sent to Brazil to retrieve a microfilm containing the names of Frenchmen who assisted the Nazi regime, OSS 117 joins forces with sexy lieutenant Dolores to track down an underground group of escaped Nazis.

FILM FACT: The film OSS 117: Le Caire, nid D'Espions won the Golden Space Needle award as the most popular film of the Seattle International Film Festival and the Tokyo Grand Prix award given to the best film at the Tokyo International Film Festival.

Cast: Jean Dujardin, Philippe Lefebvre, Claude Brosset, Éric Prat, Aure Atika, Bérénice Bejo, Constantin Alexandrov, Laurent Bateau, François Damiens, Richard Sammel, Said Amadis, Youssef Hamid, Khalid Maadour, Arsène Mosca, Abdallah Moundy, Alain Khouani, Alex Lutz and Rüdiger Vogler

Director: Michel Hazanavicius

Producers: Eric Altmeyer and Nicolas Altmeyer

Screenwriter: Jean-François Halin and Michel Hazanavicius

Composers: Ludovic Bource and Kamel Ech-Cheikh

Cinematography: Guillaume Schiffman

Audio: French: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French: 5.1 PCM [non compressed] and French: 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio

Subtitles: English

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.35.1 [CinemaScope]

Running Time: 90 minutes and 101 minutes

Number of discs: 2

Studio: Gaumont

Andrew's Blu-ray Review – OSS 117 - Le Caire, Nid d'Espions. Director Michel Hazanavicius's ‘OSS 117: Cairo Nest of Spies’ resurrects novelist Jean Bruce’s titular hero as a comedic version of himself–as well as of James Bond and countless other Eurospy types. As played by Jean Dujardin, OSS 117 (aka Hubert Bonisseur de la Bath) comes off as a slightly more competent version of The Pink Panther’s Inspector Clouseau. His competence comes in his fighting abilities, though, not in deductive reasoning. He represents everything that’s worst about the West and about colonialism, primarily in his total ignorance to other cultures. He laughs at the Arabic language and dismisses Islam as "a fad" that will never catch on. He’s hopelessly patriotic, believing his own government can do no wrong at all; he carries around pictures of French president Rene Coty and distributes them to various Egyptians he meets. Dujardin’s version of OSS 117 is a clever comedic creation, smoothly sending up the annoying smugness and utter arrogance of all the Eurospy heroes of the Sixties. And he's got the crucial "spy eyebrows" down to a fine art!

His mission takes him to Cairo, naturally, to investigate the disappearance of his predecessor and childhood friend, Jack. In Cairo his cultural obliviousness side-tracks him again and again, and it’s only with the aid of his beautiful local contact Larmina [Bernice Bejo] that he manages to get anything done. Despite her help, he still manages to offend her, her people and her religion time and again.

On one level, the movie is a sharp satire on global politics and Western ignorance, sending up the culture of the "Ugly American," even if it does so with a Frenchman instead. But on another level, it’s a rather silly slapstick spy farce. This may slightly impede its success as a biting satire, because it dulls the blows with pratfalls, but the lighter tone is nevertheless to the movie’s overall advantage. It comes off as a daft, enjoyable comedy that actually makes a few good points if you stop and think about it, but certainly doesn’t hit you over the head with them. It's the perfect cocktail of slapstick and satire, really.

The biggest laughs come from those moments of sheer silliness. Bath becomes obsessed with the poultry business that serves as his French Secret Service cover. When the lights go on, the chickens all start clucking madly. When the lights go off, they shut up. Fascinated by this behaviour, he amuses himself over and over again by flipping the light switch on and off, on and off. It doesn’t sound like much on paper (or computer screen), but it’s a very effective gag, especially as a punctuation to another character’s remark that Bath is either "very stupid or very smart."

The production values are impressive all around, and the filmmakers do an excellent job mimicking Technicolor films of the Fifties and Sixties. They incorporate grainy stock footage and obvious models, as well as rear projection, plenty of Brill cream, a suitably retro score (though not as good as Michel Magne's original OSS 117 themes) and cool studio-bound sets. The best of those sets is a Neo-Nazi enclave hidden inside a pyramid and decked out with the requisite swastika flags, as well as an array of security monitors that use a new technology to record their feeds onto magnetic tape. (Appropriate, since Eurospies were always on the cutting edge of technology. We may still not have a disintegration ray, but at least VCRs have come and gone!) I love the attention to period detail, it's used (very successfully) to add another layer of amusement, but I would still love to one day see a spy film shot in such a retro style, but played straight and implementing modern action and pacing.

If the retro recreation idea particularly appeals to you, or if you are a big fan of the (original) Pink Panther films then you should definitely check out ‘OSS 117: Cairo Nest of Spies.’ It's a perfectly crafted love letter to the films of that era and a damning send up of them at the same time–and just a really hilarious comedy. I liked this film plenty the first time I saw it, but on (frequent) subsequent viewings, it's really become one of my very favourite spy comedies–and one of my favourite spy films, period. It ranks with ‘Casino Royale’ and ‘The Bourne Ultimatum’ as one of the best of this past decade, for sure.

Blu-ray Video Quality – I originally had this on an inferior Region B DVD, but this Blu-ray disc really makes the film look even more stunning, especially being in the 1080p encoding, because it brings you a video image that is totally awesome and stunning! Colours, contrasts, black management, definition, image sharpness ... everything is just perfect from beginning to end.

Blu-ray Audio Quality – Dialogues and music stand perfectly opens the front with incredible potential. While OSS 117 is not really the kind of film that lends itself to an acoustic demo and therefore the use of low frequencies as well as surround channels is not as prominent as other titles, but overall the effect is again a real delight at all times. The DTS soundtrack will envelop you so much so, to make you feel you are actually in Cairo. Change of scenery guaranteed!

Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:

Audio Commentary with Director Michel Hazanavicius and Jean Dujardin: Director Michel Hazanavicius and star Jean Dujardin may have some entertaining or enlightening things to say about the film, but I only know a handful of phrases in the French language and they didn't use any of them. In ‘OSS 117: Le Caire, nid D'Espions’ director Michel Hazanavicius points out, the whole world (of the late 1950s, in the waning days of European Colonialism) was racist and backwards; now, in the sequel (set a decade later), things have changed radically and it’s just the character, Hubert, who’s racist and backwards. Instead of being representative of his society, OSS 117 is a fish out of water, a relic of a generation whose old road is rapidly aging, surrounded by a more progressive younger generation primarily embodied by the highly capable female Mossad agent Dolores Kuleshov [Louise Monot], who OSS 117 first assumes to be a secretary. Michel Hazanavicius reveals that after satirizing Western views of Arab culture in the first film, the choice for the second was between Jews and blacks, and they chose Jews. He shares that they knew they were walking a fine line, though, and had to be very careful when making (or rather having their lead character make) anti-Semitic jokes. “We can show a racist and make fun of him. But if we’re going to show a racist, we have to show his racist jokes.” Fortunately, they had Jean Dujardin’s voice in mind this time around, since they were writing the sequel specifically for their original leading man, and that aided them immeasurably in concocting jokes they knew they could get away with.

Making of Documentary [18:00] The Making of is quite well done. In addition to some of the standard things we expect of such a documentary, like time-delay shots of sets being constructed and convivial on-set clowning, a substantial amount of time is devoted to the filmmakers' exacting efforts to recreate the look, feel and charm of a 1950s Technicolor film. All the key department heads are interviewed, each discussing how the period style affects their particular field. It's fascinating to hear how not only the director and actors adapted their methods, but also the cinematographer, the stunt men, the set designers and the special effects coordinators. They all talk about recreating the look of Fifties Technicolor movies by doing everything the way they would have had to do it then. For example, director of photography Guillaume Schiffman used only dollies and zooms to maintain what he calls "very plain shots." Even the lights they used were from the 1950s; "they soften faces and make nice shadows."

This documentary also delves briefly into the storied history of the character, and we're even treated to some clips from the original Sixties OSS 117 films. Producer Nicolas Altmayer reveals that the project's origin is based on memories of paperback book covers in his parents' library, which led him to the idea of creating a new film based on Jean Bruce's OSS 117 series. Co-writer Jean-François Halin says that he read a few of the books and watched a few of the movies. (Not too surprising since the opening sequence, in which OSS 117 faces some Nazis on a plane in the closing days of WWII, actually comes directly from Bruce.) It quickly became apparent to him and Michel Hazanavicius that the existing ingredients only needed to be exaggerated slightly to become jokes. "We kept the rules," says Dujardin, "but shook them a little to make them funny."

Deleted Scenes Presentation: “Dans le cockpit,” “Le Coucher d’OOS” and “Avec le porte Égyptien” [15:00] Most of them run rather long and were probably wisely cut for pacing... but are still genuinely hilarious. My favorite is an extension of the light switch/chicken joke, in which OSS 117 tries to recreate the experiment in his hotel room by making his own clucking noices as he toggles his light switch. Another good one finds him chasing an errant foul around his office, eventually at gunpoint. All of the clips are set up with brief text intros situating them in the context of the film, which is helpful.

Gag Reel [11:00] At eleven minutes, the gag reel definitely outstays its welcome. It consists mostly of Jean Dujardin cracking himself up (which is amusing the first few times), he and other actors swearing, and line flubs that probably lose some of their humour in translation.

Réclame et Bande-Announce: French Film Trailers. All in French and no English Subtitles.

Finally, ever since I first viewed ‘OSS 117: Le Caire, nid D'Espions’ I have loved this film ever since, as it makes a change from the slick American Spy Films and is such a refreshing change and I never get bored watching this film, despite having to read the subtitles, which I wish they had put in the Cinemascope frame. Arguably one of the best feature-length spy spoofs ever, the hilarious OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies successfully embraces and parodies the `50s/60s spy films and features a pitch-perfect performance from dashing leading man Jean Dujardin. So all in all a total honour to add this to my ever increasing Blu-ray Collection and if you want something tongue in cheek and quirky comedy, then this Blu-ray is for you and you will not be disappointed. Enjoy.

Andrew's Blu-ray Review – ‘OSS 117: Rio ne Répond Plus . . .’ [‘OSS 117: Lost in Rio’] In this sequel to the first OSS 117 parody, French Secret Service super-agent Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath [Jean Dujardin], alias OSS 117, is sent to Brazil on assignment to deliver a blackmail payment to treacherous Nazi Professor Von Zimmel [Rudiger Vogler], who is in the possession of a microfilm list of French Nazi sympathizers. Along the way, Hubert is assisted by Israeli Army Officer Delores [Louise Monot] and Von Zimmel's own hippie son Heinrich [Alex Lutz].

The character of French Secret Serviceman OSS 117, the codename for agent Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath, was created by author Jean Bruce in a series of books that began in 1949 and also made the live action transition in a somewhat less popular film series that began in 1957 (both predating the Bond books and films, which respectively began in 1953 and 1962). Although the OSS 117 films had died out by the early seventies (the books continued under different authors until 1992), the franchise was dusted off in 2006 following the publicity of the Daniel Craig-starring Bond reboot Casino Royale, which was then in pre-production. Realizing that the France-based film company Gaumont would not be able to seriously compete with the multimillion dollar budget of United Artist-produced Casino Royale is action and thrills, it was wisely decided to play the antics as an Our Man Flint/Matt Helm-like parody for 2006 audiences. The resulting film OSS 117: Le Caire nid d'Espions (which made it to theatres a full eight months before Casino Royale) was unarguably one of the best feature-length spy spoofs ever and featured a pitch-perfect performance from dashing leading man Jean Dujardin.

With director/writer Michel Hazanavicius, additional screenwriter Jean-Francois Halin, and lead actor Jean Dujardin all returning in ‘OSS 117: Rio ne repond plus . . .’ is very much in the same mould as ‘OSS 117: Le Caire nid d'espions’ – only it naturally ups the ante from the first film, as most sequels attempt to do. The plot this time around is much skimpier than the first film, but Hazanavicius and Halin continue to delightfully skewer the whole spy genre without entirely disrespecting or condescending to the genre, which is perhaps why these two OSS 117 films are so much more enjoyable and feel so much fresher than the belaboured Austin Powers series and other such similar spy parodies. Pushing the film ahead 12 years to 1967 was also a smart movie, as it gives Michel Hazanavicius and Francois Halin a whole new decade of spy movie aesthetics and clichés to utilize (including multiple split-screen imagery a la The Thomas Crown Affair, and even visual references to Hitchcock's Vertigo and North by Northwest thrown in), which also prevents the film from falling into the potential trap of repeating too many of the first film's jokes. Also, as with that first film's excellence at recapturing the look and feel of mid-fifties film, Hazanvicius and crew here perfectly recreate a 2009 vision of the late-sixties complete with the "modern-era" geometric urban architecture and contrasting flowery beach bum hippie culture. I truly thought that Jean Dujardin's performance as Hubert in the first film was about a perfect as possible for this genre, yet he seems impossibly even more assured and devilishly charming in this second outing. Obviously spoofing on Sean Connery's interpretation of Bond (with more than a little bit of Roger Moore thrown in), Jean Dujardin has the rare gift of being able to play a comically elitist, sexist, overconfident character and actually make it all seem adorable through sheer charm and a touching sense of humanity that escapes through the posturing.

Although the Jean Dejardin is the main attraction here, he is not acting in a vacuum as the rest of the cast all turn in consistently solid work. German-born Rudiger Vogler pulls off the difficult task of playing a comedic-yet-reasonably-intimidating villain with great success, and sultry Reem Kherici is marvellously vampy as the sensuous villainess. Plucky red-head Louise Monot favourably reminds one as a mixture of such Bond heroines as Jill St. John and Barbara Bach, and scruffily funny Alex Lutz seems to be a natural at playing the second banana sidekick. Much like the first film, the cast in OSS 117 - Rio ne Répond Plus . . . all look and sound like they're in a real period spy picture, only they're funny!

Blu-ray Video Quality – The Blu-ray disc is wonderful! The image is so well defined that it hints at all the lighting and staging efforts made by the director in order to achieve such a result. The costumes, sets, makeup fittings and beautiful landscapes of Rio. The final scene of the Corcovado rightly deserves a vison age in Blu-ray as it is excessive, and manages to deliver the immensity (when the two protagonists find themselves in the arms of Christ overlooking Rio). The Colour is well balanced, and the grain is generally quite low.

Blu-ray Audio Quality – The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is being sparks a deadly accuracy because it provides an airy mix of the signal, which is never overloaded. The overall tone could not be more satisfying with its moods cut with a knife or funniest scenes (exchange of gunfire). The audio track keeps this unconventional side leading to effects that, in light of some recent productions may seem timid, but it is not so, the film is instead a marvel of balance and natural sound.

Blu-ray Supplements and Extras:

Audio Commentary with Michel Hazanvicious and JeanDujardin: Co-writers Michel Hazanavicius and Jean-Francois Halin offer some succinct comparisons of how they’ve approached the sequel. In the first film, they point out, the whole world (of the late 1950s, in the waning days of European Colonialism) was racist and backwards; now, in the sequel (set a decade later), things have changed radically and it’s just the character, Hubert, who’s racist and backwards. Instead of being representative of his society, OSS 117 is a fish out of water, a relic of a generation whose old road is rapidly aging, surrounded by a more progressive younger generation primarily embodied by the highly capable female Mossad agent Dolores Kuleshov (Louise Monot), who OSS 117 first assumes to be a secretary.

Michel Hazanavicius reveals that after satirizing Western views of Arab culture in the first film, the choice for the second was between Jews and blacks, and they chose Jews. (I really think he should have included Asians on his list, as they were probably the race most wronged by Euro spy films – a fact that certainly doesn’t go ignored in ‘OSS 117: Lost in Rio’.) He shares that they knew they were walking a fine line, though, and had to be very careful when making (or rather having their lead character make) anti-Semitic jokes. “We can show a racist and make fun of him. But if we’re going to show a racist, we have to show his racist jokes.” Fortunately, they had Jean Dujardin’s voice in mind this time around, since they were writing the sequel specifically for their original leading man, and that aided them immeasurably in concocting jokes they knew they could get away with. (Even so, they seem to have pushed the boundaries of good taste–as any proper satire ought to. At a screening I attended followed by a director Q&A, one elderly Jewish gentleman engaged Michel Hazanavicius in a rigorous and awkward –debate that sometimes verged on a shouting match. He wanted to know if the writers were Jewish. Michel Hazanavicius insisted that that shouldn’t matter one bit, but eventually conceded that “I wrote it and I am Jewish, so yes.” This satisfied the old man, who then congratulated him on writing a hilarious script. Michel Hazanavicius seemed understandably uncomfortable, and wondered if the complement came just because he was Jewish. The implication certainly seemed to be that it did.)

Making of OSS 117: Cavalcade à Rio [24:00] (mistranslated in the subtitles for some reason as “The Making of Rush to Rio”). It’s a slick, well put together documentary – more insightful than your typical Behind-the-Scene look at the film and involving lots of clips. I suspect, given its length, that it was conceived as a promotional tool when the movie came out, but it’s no fluff piece.

Scènes Coupés: We also treated to a more technical discussion of the filmmaking process. The Director of Photography talks briefly about the challenges of creating a new look for the second film after the brilliantly retro look of the first one. They both may look retro today (Hazanavicius has claimed that his goal – in which he fully succeeded – was to create a film that were someone to catch it muted while flipping channels, they would be convinced it was from the Sixties), but they’re retro in different ways. There are subtle differences between the look of late Fifties cinema and late Sixties cinema, and the production team on OSS 117: Lost in Rio was keenly aware of them. Michel Hazanavicius’s recipe for creating a successful Sixties look? “Just add colour,” he says. "They were into that at the time." Of course he’s being glib, and while all the department heads may have had that axiom in mind, it’s clear that there was a lot more attention to detail going on from the costumes to the lighting to the acting.

Jean Dujardin points out that acting gestures as simple as the way actors held guns in Sixties movies are clichés worthy of emulating–and this attention to detail pays off in the film itself, where such cavalier shooting from the hip (reminiscent of Sean Connery during the gypsy camp battle in From Russia With Love) is played entirely straight but generates big laughs.

Amidst all these fascinating insights from the cast and crew, we’re treated to some fun behind-the-scenes footage as well, like Dujardin goofing off on the set of his fight scene with a Nazi luchador, and the truly bizarre sight of a shirtless Mexican wrestler wearing a swastika armband dancing. There’s also some B-roll showing some of the old-school sorts of rigs the filmmakers used to recreate the look and feel of a Sixties film, like a disembodied car chassis for the actors to sit in surrounded by whirling trees “outside.” All in all, it’s an enlightening documentary on this good Blu-ray disc of a truly must-have film – all wrapped up in an irresistible beautiful designed Blu-ray cover. Plus this film belongs in every spy collection. If you like James Bond, or if you like Euro spies, and you have a sense of humour, then this is for you 100%.

Teasers and Bandes-Announce: Lots of French Film Trailers. French with no English subtitles.

Finally, it delivers such absurdities; the film creates and sustains its own limited world. Expecting much more (plot coherence or strong character development) would miss the point. OSS 117, like James Bond, is more a concept than an actual person: he's an incarnation of self-absorbed suavity, played to comic effect. Even when he's only intermittently funny, it's hard not to wonder what he'll do next. The film's humour remains hit-and-miss, and he often lets a scene drift awkwardly before cutting away, undermining the big laughs he has developed within it. Still, let us be grateful that there are big laughs to be had, and Lost in Rio – with scenes like the crocodile barbecue or a painfully slow hospital chase – is occasionally inspired. ‘OSS 117 - Rio ne Répond Plus . . .’ is even more goofier film and pushes the envelope even further than the original (with is one of the best feature-length spy spoofs ever no less), which makes you really yearn for a third OSS 117 parody film to complete the trilogy (maybe this time set in the seventies) especially as long as the gorgeous Jean Dujardin is involved. So all in all a total honour to add this Double Feature to my ever increasing Blu-ray Collection, on top of all that the discs are held in 2 beautiful designed printed Blu-ray Cases and if you want something very tongue in cheek and quirky comedy to boot, then this brilliant Blu-ray is for you and you will not be at all disappointed. Overall, despite both Blu-ray discs are in French, you will still have a brilliant time viewing these very unique and different spy spoof type, especially as you get English Subtitles. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
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